Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals enjoy a complete day off following their 3-2 overtime victory against the Florida Panthers Saturday night.
Orlov sent to Hershey: Earlier today the Caps sent defenseman Dmitry Orlov back to the AHL Hershey Bears. Orlov, 22, was recalled on Wednesday but did not play in either of the Caps’ games on Friday or Saturday. Orlov has six points [one goal, five assists] in six games with the Bears, who play tonight at home against Norfolk.
Playoff position: With their shootout win over the Panthers the Caps evened their record at 7-7-0 and moved into playoff position in the Metropolitan Division standings, where they hold the third spot with 14 points, two ahead of the fourth-place Rangers and one behind the second-place Islanders. The top three teams in each division clinch a playoff spot and by the looks of the Eastern Conference standings, the top three finishers in the Metro Division might be the only teams in the division to make the playoffs, with Boston [16 points] and Montreal [16 points] currently holding the wild card spots.
Carly’s big night: Caps defenseman John Carlson’s second-period goal was his first of the season and 100th of his NHL career. In 248 career games with the Caps Carlson has 24 goals and 76 assists.
First of many?: Rookie center Michael Latta gave Carlson a clean, hard pass on the goal, giving Latta his first career NHL point.
Alex who? The Caps have won two games in a row without Alex Ovechkin [upper body] and are now 13-8-2 in the 23 games he has missed in his Capitals career.
Tricky Nicky: Center Nicklas Backstrom has four points [3 goals, 1 assist] in his last two games, along with a shootout game-winner. In 34 career games against the Panthers Backstrom has 36 points [7 goals, 29 assists].
Green days: Defenseman Mike Green and Eric Fehr have earned assists in four straight games.
Cat lovers: The Caps have won eight straight games against the Panthers dating back to Feb. 17, 2012. They’ve also won eight in a row at home against Florida, dating back to Jan. 8, 2011.
Killer PK: Despite having their streak of penalty kills snapped at 35, the Caps own the NHL’s second-best penalty killing percentage [90.7], a fraction behind the Colorado Avalanche [90.9].
Perfect on shootouts: The Capitals are now 3-0 in shootouts this season and have converted on a ridiculous seven consecutive shootout attempts.
Good finishers: The Caps have outscored opponents 21-12 in the second period and are 5-0-0 this season when leading after the second period.
Look ahead: The Caps are off today and will practice at 10:30 a.m. on Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, ahead of Tuesday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, who are coming off Saturday night’s a 3-1 win over the Bruins to improve to 6-5-3.